safe principle seems to be to throw the native pastors, for their support, upon the churches at the time of ordination. Whatever aid is rendered toward the support of the pastors should be given to the churches and not directly to the pastors. No native preacher or pastor should draw his salary from the treasury of a foreign Board. Pastors and preachers should be taught from the first to look to the churches for their support, and taught not only theoretically but practically, by actually placing this responsibility upon the churches. Native churches are often unwilling to pledge themselves to support their pastors, and newly ordained pastors are often unwilling to commit themselves to their churches; but we are convinced that any other course than the one here recommended is fraught with evils and embarrassments that will only increase as time passes. Whenever foreign aid is rendered to a church in the support of its pastor, it should be done only with a definite understanding that such aid shall cease at the earliest possible moment. If a native pastor is not willing thus to be thrown on the church over which he is ordained, it is generally in. dicative either that there has been a serious detect in his education or that the man is not fit for the pastoral office. Those pastors who perseveringly insist on being supported by a foreign Board are, in the opinion of the writer, really not worthy to be supported very long by anybody. Moreover, we think this position is fully sustained by the history of the Protestant evangelical churches in the Turkish Empire. We learn from the report of the Ainerican Board for 1869, that there are seventy-three evangelical churches under its care in Turkey, and that forty-three of these have native pastors ordained over them. From private sources of the most reliable kind, we happen to know that the missionaries of the Board among the Armenians in Turkey have devoted much attention to the training up of a native ministry according to the suggestions contained in this article. We know, also, that their efforts have been attended with marked success. The most promising pastors in the country are those who have been educated on these principles; the strongest and most flourishing churches are those that have for years supported entirely their owii pastors, and those pastors and churches that have most thor



oughly tested this principle of self-support are the most thoroughly in favor of it; in fact, they could not be induced to return to their former relation as recipients of foreign benevolence. There are four theological schools in the three missions of Western, Central, and Eastern Turkey. These schools are located at Marsovan, Marash, Harpoot, and Mardin. The general principles on which these schools are conducted are the same, and are substantially those we have recommended. The work of evangelization is extending among the Copts of Egypt, the people of Syria, the Bulgarians in European Turkey, and the Kurdish-speaking Armenians of Kürdistan. For these different nationalities a native ministry must be provided. It is important that there should be agreement and united action among the missions and missionaries of the whole Turkish Empire in regard to the principles and method according to which that ministry shall be trained.

If evangelical missions in Turkey are to succeed, the whole work of evangelization will eventually pass into the hands of native Christians; if they are to fail, it matters little on what principles they are conducted. We believe they are to succeed.

Unity of plan, therefore, in the organization and development of native churches becomes a matter of the first importance. Such churches will be a power in the land in proportion to their ability to work together for Christ and his cause. If the missionaries are agreed in regard to the general principles on which they will train up a native ministry, the future pastors of the evangelical churches throughout Turkey will be on the same level, will take substantially the same views of their duty, will work alike and together for the evangelization of the whole country. When the pastors are thus agreed, the churches will be trained accordingly. We write not in the interest of any particular Board or denomination or system, when we say that the missionaries in Turkey should seek after real unity in the plan of that spiritual building which is rising, under their direction, to the honor and glory of God. United action in training a native ministry will secure substantial unity in all else. In the writer's judgment, sectarian interests should be made to stand aside if they attempt to prevent or hinder this desirable consummation,

[ocr errors]

ART. III. - The One Primeval Language traced experiment

ally through Ancient Inscriptions in Alphabetic Characters, of Lost Powers, from the four Continents. By the Rev. CHARLES FORSTER, B. D. London : 1851. Part I. The Voice of Israel from the Rocks of Sinai, or the Sinaitic Inscriptions Contemporary Records of the Miracles and

Wanderings of the Exode. 8vo, pp. 182. Sinai Photographed, or Contemporary Records of Israel in

the Wilderness. By the Rev. CHARLES FORSTER, B. D.

London : 1862. 4to, pp. 552. It is well known that the valleys in the neighborhood of Mount Sinai contain inscriptions in an ancient and peculiar character, which have long been a puzzle to the learned. The earliest mention of them is by Cosmas Indicopleustes, or the Indian Navigator, an Egyptian merchant and traveller, and subsequently a monk, who flourished in the reign of Justinian, about A. D. 535. In his work entitled “Christian Topography,” he speaks of these inscriptions, and attributes them to the children of Israel, during their wanderings in the wilderness. We translate the entire passage, as quoted by Beer, and copied from him by Forster :

"As they had received the law from God in writing, and recently been taught letters, God made use, as it were, of a quiet school in the desert, and permitted them to carve letters in stone for forty years. Whence it is to be seen that in this desert of Mount Sinai, at every halting-place, all the stones which are broken from the mountains are inscribed with engraved Hebrew letters, as I who have gone through these localities on foot can testify. Some Jews, who read them, and explained them to me, said that the writing was to this purport: the journey of So and So, of such a tribe, in such a year, and such a month, as among us also people often write in foreign parts. Now, inasmuch as they had but lately learned their letters, they were incessantly practising and wrote profusely, so that all those places are filled with carved Hebrew letters, which have been preserved to this present time, as I suppose, for the sake of unbelievers. Any one who pleases can go to this region and see for himself, or at least can ask and learn that we have told the truth about it. The Hebrews, then, having first been instructed of God, in that they received letters by those tables of stone, and then learned them forty years in the wilderness, delivered them to their neighbors, the Phoenicians, to Cadmus, first king of Tyre; from him the Greeks received them, and after that they were successively transmitted to all the other nations in their turn."

No notice is taken of these inscriptions in any writings subsequent to the time of Cosmas, and they appear to have attracted no attention until his treatise was first published in modern times by Montfaucon, at Paris, in 1706. The learned editor does not seem to have ever heard of these mysterious inscriptions from any other quarter. He believes that Cosmas saw what he reports, simply on the ground of his credibility as a writer and a witness, though he supposes him to have been imposed upon by some mendacious Jews, when he imagines that they were written by the children of Israel. Sixteen years later, in 1722, the prefect of the Franciscans in Cairo passed through that region, and he is the first modern writer who gives any account of them from personal inspection. We shall give a brief extract from his narrative presently. His manuscript “ Journal from Grand Cairo to Mount Sinai” was translated into English by Clayton, bishop of Clogher, and published in London. The worthy Irish prelate, who was thus the first to direct the attention of European scholars to this subject was himself so profoundly interested in it, that he offered the sum of £500 to the traveller who should copy and bring to Europe the inscriptions of the Wady Mokatteb. “This was soon after followed up in the East by the enterprise of Dr. Richard Pococke (afterward bishop of Ossory), the first European traveller who visited the peninsula of Sinai with the object of examining and taking copies of its inscriptions. Additional copies were subsequently made by Montague, Niebuhr, Rüppell, Seetzen, Burckhardt, Laborde, and others. Adequate materials” for a satisfactory investigation can scarcely be said to have existed, however, until they were supplied " by Rev. Mr. Gray, whose collection of one hundred and seventy-seven fairly copied Sinaitic inscriptions appeared in 1800 in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature."

“ The following device was employed by this gentleman and his fellow-traveller, an Italian artist, to gain an opportunity of making their copies. Finding all efforts vain to induce their Arabs to stop for this purpose, they privately agreed, on reaching the Wady Mokatteb inscriptions, where they were to halt for the night, to loose the camels from their pickets while the guides slept, and let them wander over the desert. At day-break the Arabs missed their camels, and went off in quest of them; while, during their absence of some hours, Mr. Gray and his companion quietly and uninterruptedly took copies of all the inscriptions within their reach." Of the difficulties to be encountered in copying these inscriptions, a brief extract from a communication from another traveller (Rev. T. Brookman), may give some idea. Forster's “Primeval Language,” pp. 170-1:

"I found that if we tarried three days, or even two, our water and provisions would not hold out till the convent, whither we must go to take in a six days' supply for our return. The expense, too, of detaining the camels and Arabs would be not inconsiderable. I therefore determined to select only the best and clearest inscriptions for copying, and worked almost unremittingly from noon to sunset under a burning sun; my servant and the Arab sheikh and his boy holding an umbrella over me in turn. The next morning, before sunrise, I went to work again; and when the sun began to wax hot, I called my servant to bear the umbrella as before. He, having something to do in the tent, called the sheikh; and he from out of a rocky cave where he lay, called the boy; and forth came the poor boy from another shady retreat, to face the fierce glare of the sun, wondering what could possess the Frangee to stop in this frightful desert to copy these useless, and, as he thought, unintelligible writings."

Every recent traveller in the desert of Sinai gives some account of these remarkable inscriptions. We insert the following from Dr. John Wilson's “ Lands of the Bible" :


"When we got beyond the entrance of the Magharah, our Arabs made to us the welcome announcement that we had entered the Wadi Mukatteb, or the · written valley. We had not far to look for the mysterious inscriptions which we had so much desired to see. In the first or western division of the valley, however, which, like the second, continues for about an hour and a half, they are not nu

We dismounted at the broad expansion of the Wadi which marks its division, and where it strikes to the south; and here we had them in abundance to the fullest gratification of our curiosity. They are found on both sides of the valley on the perpendicular and smooth cliffs of the new red or variegated sandstone, the strata of which are of enormous thickness, and on the large masses of this rock which have fallen from above. The surface of these stony tablets seemed to have been naturally prepared for the 'graviug of an iron pen,' and the words which are written upon them, though not very deeply cut,* if we may judge from the small injury which the hand of time has committed upon them during the many ages they have existed, may probably 'last forever' in the sense of Job, the tried patriarch of Arabia Petræa, who wished such a commemoration of the language of his deepest sorrow.

* "In some instances they seem as if merely pricked by some instrument."

« ElőzőTovább »